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Letter: Canadian Serbian Relief Fund to Geoffrey Sayers
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Title: Letter: Canadian Serbian Relief Fund to Geoffrey Sayers
Identifier: 2005.1.166.2-3
Donor: Geoffrey and Kathleen Sayers
Item Date: 1918
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A handwritten letter in black ink on beige paper with the block printed letterhead "Canadian Serbian Relief Committee" underneath which in brackets is: "(with which is incorporated Montenegrin Relief)" Below the heading is a listing of presidents, vice presidents, treasurer, and secretaries. The text of the letter thanks Geoffrey "for working so hard to help us." Two photos of Serbian boys and some leaflets "in case you know anyone who would collect, too" were at one time included with the letter, but are now missing. The letter is signed: Miss Olive Steede, Secretary. A purple ink stamp reading "Canadian Serbian Relief Committee, Children's Branch" is in the proper bottom left corner.3) A brown envelop 26.5 cm x 15.5 cm addressed to "Mr. Geoffrey Sayers, Clarkson, Ont." There is no return address but the back of the envelope has a purple ink stamp which reads: "Canadian Serbian Relief Committee, Children's Branch". The front of the envelope has a circle postmark which reads: "Toronto, Ont. Jan 6 8-PM 1918" and the back has a circle postmark reading: "Clarkson, Ont Jan 7 1918." There is a hole in the envelope where the stamp has been cut out.

The Serbian Relief Fund was created in September 1914 in order to ease the humanitarian crisis in Serbia. It was supported and run for the most part by women. The first aid sent to Serbia was medical and by the end of 1914 the first teams of doctors and nurses had been sent. As the war progressed the SRF expanded its operations to aid Serbian refugees and prisoners of war. Later it was also involved in the education in Britain of a number of Serbian refugee boys. The decision to wind up the fund was taken by the Executive Committee in December 1920. It took several years before it was possible to conclude unfinished business and the funds remaining assets were transferred to the Nis Orphanage Trust which remained in operation until after the Second World War when it was taken over by the Yugoslav Government.

This item was donated by Geoffrey Harris Sayers, who was born 23 April 1907 and died 25 November 1997. A retired businessman, he was the first child of Beverly and Annie Sayers (née Harris). Geoffrey Sayers and his sisters, Dora Sayers Caro, and Barbara Sayers Larson donated Benares Historic House to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1969. It has operated as a museum under the City of Mississauga since 1995 and was officially transferred to Mississauga in 2000. Geoffrey Sayers and his wife Kathleen (née Colloton) occupied Benares from 1969 until 1981. During that time, they acted as care takers of the estate on behalf of the Ontario Heritage Foundation. They kept a small display of artifacts in the kitchen, and opened up the house once a year to the public. He also maintained the Benares financial affairs in 1932 for Naomi (Na) and Mary, who were unable to do so themselves.
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